Best Apps to Identify Objects through Your Camera
- 2020-12-10 13:00
When mobile phones first obtained onboard cameras, they were not suited for art photos at all. With low definition and poor coloring, they were only good for snapping your friends’ faces to add them to the phone book, or for photoing documents and announces. Now the cameras are way better, catching up with some professional models due to extended usage of AI. But, making our photo quality better, AI becomes a great assistant in solving quite practical problems, like recognizing objects.
You might think about OCR, but that’s only the beginning. Optical character recognition is just a special case, and one of the simplest. But today’s AI can do much more complicated work, depending on what it’s optimized for.
If you are curious about what more can AI do in addition to placing moving stickers on your face, here are some examples. They all work the same way: launch the app with the camera, aim for the object, and get info on it. The objects this tech works with are very various, as you will see from the list below.
It’s probably the most famous object recognition app, now made available for all Android devices that support the technology. This app uses a unified interface and the same method for various objects. First of all, as most of us know, you may just aim at the famous buildings or monuments and see the info about them, like text descriptions, best photos, and YouTube videos, and also read other users’ reviews. If its camera catches an animal or a plant, it will probably recognize it too and share what Google knows about this species. Of course, it also can translate texts and recognize the language automatically. It’s your best guide (if you aren’t short of megabytes).
Unlike Google Lens, this one is searching pictures you make, not the objects on the image. If you see an object you’re interested in, you need to take a picture of it, and then search it on the Internet. You will get results including similar images, text descriptions, and anything. There are also special tools for scanning barcodes and QR-codes, recognizing and translating texts, and also voice and text search engines that can help you do your searching without turning to other apps. You can also create your local collection of search results to address to them any time you like.
If you’re calorie-concerned, you probably experience problems when about to eat food with no barcode. MyFitnessPal and its analogues are helpless unless you enter the ingredients manually, but here is CalorieMama to the rescue. Just point the camera at your plate; the app will analyze the image and recognize the ingredients, and then display its energetic value. What you finally get is the calorie value of the entire dish. So if you keep track of calories, it won’t lead you to “the grand fatigue”, as it makes tracking easier. Mama also recognizes dishes as vegetarian or as keto, using just the image (of course it will only account the visible parts of it, so a steak hidden inside the salad will trick it; but the question is why).
It also has its fitness assistance with workouts by pro trainers, but this has nothing to do with object recognition… so far. Maybe later you’ll need to point the camera at yourself working out, and it will praise you for the right moves and criticize for the wrong, becoming an advanced version of Kinect. Waiting for this impatiently.
Flow by Amazon
Being a shop and a marketplace, Amazon concentrates on commercial goods with barcodes and QR codes, packs and labels. But it’s not necessary; the app is smart enough to recognize objects without processed info, just by its image. Point the camera at the object and track it, or open a pic with the app. Click the object, and the app will display its price on Amazon along with the description.
And yes, a barcode will make the work easier and results more exact. You don’t even have to turn the code: it recognizes it both in landscape and portrait modes. Then you can just look at the object you have scanned in history.
You don’t have to own an Amazon device to use this app; it works on a regular Android device. IOS users can launch it within the core Amazon app.
If you are interested in recognizing various plants, trees, bushes and so on, you can use LeafSnap for optical recognition of plants. Just take a picture of a leaf and send it to the app, and it will load all the info it has on the recognized species. The app is supported by Columbia University, and now it mostly features plants from North America, but these can be found in other countries too, so the app isn’t quite useless if you’re elsewhere.
It uses VR mechanics for educational purposes. The mission is finding and recognizing the right leaves, seeds, barks, petioles, and flowers. It’s also good for self-education.
And, in the end, we cannot help offering you this funny app. Point the camera at the object, and the app will tell you whether the object is a hotdog or anything else. It’s good at identifying hotdogs and… well… the entire rich world of the objects that are not hotdogs. Hardly will you ever use it for practical needs, but it grants lots of fun. Not that it will mistakenly take you for a hotdog, but maybe it has its strange sense of humor?
Enhanced Eyes Ahead
The further we go, the more practical applications (ion both meanings) for AI we will run into. Where would you like AI to do some work? It may be shopping (to tell Amazon what it misses), astronomy (and there are some apps too), cinema and books (and it’s not completely new), and transport (point the camera at the code or number and see where this bus or tram goes). So, write your suggestions and reply.